Individual Electoral Registration
This Assembly notes that the Government plans to bring forward the full implementation of Individual Electoral Registration (IER) by one year from 1st December 2016 to 1st December 2015, resulting in the deletion of hundreds of thousands of names from the London Electoral Register ahead of the Mayor and Assembly elections next May.
The Assembly recalls that under the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013, people who were only on the electoral register as a result of the previous household registration system would remain on the list of voters until December 2016. While Ministers have the power to bring the date forward, the independent Electoral Commission has given clear advice that doing so would be wrong. The effect would be to delete nearly two million names from UK Electoral Registers of which an estimated quarter of a million are in London.
The Assembly is concerned that according to their June 2015 report on IER, the Electoral Commission identified that six of the eight boroughs where more than 10% of voters' names will deleted from the electoral register are in London. These six are Brent, Hackney, Haringey, Lambeth, Kensington and Chelsea, Redbridge and the worst in the country is Hackney which is set to see 23% of electors lose their right to vote.
This Assembly accepts the conclusions of the Electoral Commission that:
a) ” The number of London boroughs with high proportions of retained entries further underlines the importance of considering the transition end date in relation to the polls scheduled for May 2016 – which includes elections to the London Assembly and for London Mayor."
b) “Ministers should not make an order to bring forward the end of the transition to Individual Electoral Registration.”
While recognising that the primary role of maximising electoral registration within the Greater London Authority rests with the Greater London Returning Officer, this Assembly notes the distinctive role and influence that the Mayor can use in opposing these changes and therefore urges the Mayor to protect the right to vote of all Londoners and to back moves in the House of Commons and House of Lords to block the deletion of names from the Electoral Register.